when not knowing what to do

Answer me quickly, Lord;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
for I hide myself in you.
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.

Psalm 143:7-10

Sometimes we can be at nearly a total loss, not knowing what to do. Left to our own devices, we might pull out all the stops, at least trying certain things. As we are older, experienced through the hard knocks of life, we will likely be more reticent, at least less likely to trust in ourselves.

This is an opportunity to do what we should be doing all along: seek God. This seems especially relevant, and even urgent, when we feel lost, not knowing what to do or where to turn in the midst of trouble.

One thing for sure: we won’t run short of trouble in this life because of the problems that come our way. Life is uneven at best, and tragic at worst. And presents its challenges along the way. Certainly true of the psalmist, whose life was in danger. We can feel threatened in some ways. Which is why we go to God for protection, and everything else we need. Looking not just for safety, but answers. Part of God’s will being that we would ourselves be in the way in which God blesses, and through which God blesses others. In and through Jesus.

 

Advertisements

God’s safe keeping

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, Lord,
    make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 4:8

How can we feel safe in a dangerous world? The simplest answer, and maybe simplistic to many is only in God’s safe keeping. We see this at the end of Psalm 4, quoted above.

Reality is that God’s people suffer the same things as anyone else. And when you consider persecution, and even martyrdom, God’s people can suffer more. But even in this life we have the promise of God’s protection, not just in this psalm, but in others, as well (Psalm 91; Psalm 121).

Jesus assures us that the Father who cares even about the sparrow, cares about us all the more. That we can rest assured in him, and not worry about a single matter, even though each day will have its share of trouble (Matthew 6).

We can be completely at rest in God’s safe keeping, in his protective care. But that doesn’t mean that we’re assured of another day. Or that we will necessarily escape the dangers of living in a fallen, broken world. And that we won’t face more danger as God’s people. God does protect us in many ways, at times surely using his angels, or in whatever way God chooses. But sometimes that kind of protection is withdrawn. We can be sure that even then God will be with us with a protection that’s even greater, surrounding us with his presence. And ultimately, at our last breath, ushering us into his heavenly kingdom.

In the meantime, we trust for God’s protection now. While trying to live wisely. Yet ultimately knowing that God alone keeps us safe. In and through Jesus.

 

by faith continuing on in an uncertain world

Life in this world is threatening on many levels. We try to guard ourselves and our loved ones insofar as we can, but nothing at all is foolproof. I am not so much referring to the danger that might come from our witness of the faith. I am referring more to the everyday hazards we all face. Along with the problems we can experience because of them.

I sometimes wonder about how much our theology plays into our sense of well being, whatever that is supposed to mean in this life. Surely more fundamental than that is our need to simply learn to trust and rest in God, whatever else is the case. On the surface it appears that life is just as random in its dangers for us as for anyone else. And we should be fine with that, since God’s love is not only for those who are his children by faith in Jesus, but for everyone- all of us God’s children by creation. In the end we know it’s all good in terms of the new creation in Christ. But we want to do well now when the stakes are so high. Could just part of the problem in this struggle be that we are getting knocked off our feet, so to speak, simply because we’re losing sight of what our existence in Jesus is all about? It is not for our good, but for the good of others. We are expendable, yet at the same time we can trust that God’s good hand and full protection is on us now, as long as his call remains on our lives. I think of the Apostle Paul’s suffering, yes, for his witness, how he was even stoned. And that his thorn in the flesh may be tied to some eye problem through that. Yet he carried on by grace to the very end in and through Jesus. For him life was about one thing: Christ, pursuing and serving him in service to others. As he testified to the good news of Jesus.

We are limited for any good number of reasons. But what we do have, we need to put into service with all our heart, and continue to grow in all that is good in and through Christ. And we do that not only by ourselves but with others. By faith continuing on to the very end.